The need for closure predicts an evaluative bias against people whose opinions or behaviors deviate from those of other members of their social groups. In the present study, we investigated whether the relationship between the need for closure and deviant bias generalized to nonsocial stimuli, and we examined the process underlying this relationship. Sixty-one undergraduate students completed measures of the need for closure, the need for structure, intolerance for ambiguity, and the ability to be decisive and achieve cognitive structure. They then rated their liking for letters of the Latin alphabet (“A” & “B”) whose locations were consistent and inconsistent with relevant categories (“A circle” and “B circle”). Participants liked category-inconsistent letters less than category-consistent letters. Measures related to the need for structure and closed-mindedness correlated positively with this deviant bias, whereas measures related to the ability to be decisive and achieve cognitive structure did not. These results imply that the relationship between the need for closure and deviant bias is a relatively basic and pervasive effect that is not unique to social deviance and is driven by the need for structure and closed-mindedness. Implications for social and nonsocial stimuli are discussed.
International Journal of Psychology Vol. 46, Issue 3, p. 206-213
This is an electronic version of an article published in International Journal of Psychology Vol. 46, Iss. 3, 2011. International Journal of Psychology is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0020-7594&volume=46&issue=3&spage=206